News / Middle East

Support Plummets for Egypt's Morsi

Egyptians chant slogans during clashes between supporters and opponents of Egypt's president and his Muslim Brotherhood in Luxor, Egypt, June 19, 2013.
Egyptians chant slogans during clashes between supporters and opponents of Egypt's president and his Muslim Brotherhood in Luxor, Egypt, June 19, 2013.
Mohamed Elshinnawi
— A year after being elected president and almost three years since Egypt was rocked by the Arab Spring uprisings, Mohamed Morsi is increasingly in trouble with the nation’s electorate and, possibly, its military.

When Morsi took office last year, his public approval rating stood at 57 percent, with most saying he and his Muslim Brotherhood party were “a positive development.”

But with the economy in shambles and the electorate increasingly wary of the Muslim Brotherhood’s intentions, a new public opinion poll conducted by Zogby Research Services (ZRS) now rates Morsi’s approval at 28 percent.

Even the general Morsi appointed as defense minister and army chief is warning that the military may have to intervene if the government and its opponents can’t reconcile their differences before massive anti-government demonstrations scheduled next Sunday
.
The Zogby poll gauged the opinions of 5,029 Egyptian adults between April 4th and May 12th, 2013.  It concluded that almost all of the 28 percent voicing approval for Morsi were identified with his Muslim Brotherhood party or other Islamists like the Al Nour Salafi party.

Significantly, the poll indicated more than 70 percent of the electorate are now concerned that "the Muslim Brotherhood is keen to Islamize the state and control its executive powers."

Muslim Brotherhood seen as overreaching

But the polling also showed that the public considers Egypt’s political opposition groups such as the National Salvation Front and the April 6th Movement splintered and poorly organized. Even when considered together, the opposition could claim the confidence of only 35 percent of the adult population, while 40 percent of the electorate appeared to have no confidence in either the government or any of the opposition parties.

The poll also looked at who might step in as president if Morsi falters and gauged the popularity of nine potential leaders, including all those who head major parties or who ran for president against Morsi. None were viewed as credible by more than a third of the electorate.

The only person showing significant support was Bassem Yousef, a popular TV satirist who has been charged by the government with insulting the presidency and Islam.

But the most remarkable number in the polling by far was the 94 percent approval rating given the army, which won strong support from all sectors and parties. Those who supported opposition parties and Egypt's so-called “silent majority” also indicated they would like to see the army play a larger role in society.

Few were surprised then when General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the army chief who also serves as defense minister, warned over the weekend that the military was prepared to step in if liberal and Islamist supporters clash violently in next Sunday’s scheduled demonstrations.
   
El-Sissi said the military would then be obligated to intervene to prevent Egypt from plunging into “a dark tunnel.”

“Egypt is in crisis,” concluded pollster James Zogby. “The economy is in shambles with no clear direction, rights are being eroded, and a minority-supported party controls the power over a deeply fractured polity.”

What is next in Egypt?

But Zogby and other experts on Egypt say Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, with its superior organizational abilities, will remain hard to challenge politically.

FILE - Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to reporters at the Presidential palace in Cairo, July 13, 2012.FILE - Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to reporters at the Presidential palace in Cairo, July 13, 2012.
x
FILE - Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to reporters at the Presidential palace in Cairo, July 13, 2012.
FILE - Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to reporters at the Presidential palace in Cairo, July 13, 2012.
“The movement (the Brotherhood) doesn't need to be popular if it continues its ability to rally its followers around a cause and to the ballot box,” said Zogby. “Until the opposition builds an organization that can compete, the Islamists could remain on top.”

One unknown factor in this equation is the so-called Tamarrod (rebel) movement, which says it has collected 15 million signatures on a petition voicing "no confidence" in Morsi, who won the presidency with 13 million votes. The petition campaign has accused the Morsi administration of "failing to implement promised policies that improve the life of ordinary people."

The Zogby poll also looked asked about potential support for new parliamentary elections, an idea put forward by the Islamic parties. But Zogby’s polling indicated the idea is rejected by most other Egyptians, with a substantial majority saying that they do not believe new elections would be fair or transparent. The opposition, and a majority of the electorate, strongly favors drawing up a new constitution, an idea is rejected by supporters of the main Islamic parties.

The only proposal that receives near unanimous support from all groups is the convening of "a real national dialogue,” though how this could be carried out and what it could achieve remain vague.

Is there a role for the U.S.?

Though many believe the Tamarrod movement could spark the kind of government-changing events of the Arab Spring in 2011, few are convinced events would develop in the same way again.

“The Obama administration is not expected to repeat its support for another popular uprising,” said Zogby, “but rather might call for continued efforts to build the democratic institutions and conduct parliamentary elections.”

Marina Ottaway, a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, argues that the only thing the U.S. can do is to encourage Egypt’s secular opposition to organize and be ready to achieve better showing in any new parliamentary elections.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ahmed Medhat Fahmy. from: central coast California.
June 24, 2013 7:10 PM
I'm sorry to inform you that the numbers you speak of and statistics are false. A big portion of the eligible voters inEgypt and abroad boycotted the elections when they were given the American version of democratic elections ( THE BEST OF 2 EVILS ) ! Having an exe air force man from Mobarak's regime and the muslim brotherhood as the top candidates was not what the demand of the revolution were. It was rather the counter revolution and the back up plan to counter the arab spring in action. Did you think Egyptians ever approved being ruled by backwards fundamentalists ?! Do you still believe everything your government sources tell you. When is journalism in the west going to break the chains of propaganda and absolute obedience ?! Egypt was given the brotherhood as punishment for embarrassing the old regime and the military that backed it. It was a a very well planned passive agressive response to the revolution. A terror and pacification tactic till they came up with a plan for damage control.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid